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WEEKEND Washington County News Saturday, JULY 27, 2013 For the latest breaking news, visit CHIPLEYPAPER.COM IN BRIEF Possum Pageant set for July 27 WAUSAU — The 44th annual Possum Festival kicks off on today with the annual Wausau Miss Possum Festival Pageant at the Possum Palace in Wausau. Gates open at 5 p.m. and entry age for the pageant is 18 and under. Gate admission is $3 for adult, 12 an under is free. Bring a chair to enjoy the pageant. w w w. c h i p l e y p a p e r. c o m Chipley Garden Club’s 3rd Annual Scarecrow Contest | A5 50¢ Volume 90, Number 30 No decision on county millage rate Commissioners to hold special workshop, meeting Cook asked the commissioners to set a millage rate for the county board’s meeting in Chipley. “We need a decision on the millage rate, we have got to have this turned in to the state by Aug. 4,â€? she said. “We need a decision today.â€? “Or we could wait and call a By RANDAL SEYLER special meeting next week,â€? Com638-0212 | @WCN_HCT mission Chairman Alan Bush suggested. CHIPLEY — The Washington Coun“No,â€? Cook said. “Do it today.â€? ty Board of County Commissioners In the end, Cook did not get her put off deciding a county millage request, and the commissioners rate when pressed to make a deci- decided to meet again on Monsion on Thursday by County Clerk of day to hash out the millage issue Court and ComptrollerLinda Cook. in a special workshop, then meet again on Wednesday to vote on the matter. “We’re still out $92,000 from balancing the budget,â€? Cook said, and that started the discussion of how the county can make up the budget shortfalls that are predicted for the next fiscal year. Bush said the county’s ad valorum tax base is predicted to be down about $228,000, and county property values have decreased. “Altogether we’re about $400,000 down in our revenues this year.â€? Eliminating county employees is one thing the county can do to free up money for the budget, Bush said, and several positions are being considered for chopping, including that of a county manager and a human resources director. “We don’t want to send the employees into a panic, and nothing has been decided,â€? Bush said. “We’re just looking at every possibility.â€? The county is also facing “unfunded mandates,â€? Bush said, including increases in employee health care premiums and an additional $227,000 the county will be required to pay into the See MILLAGE A2 ‘First dollar’ earned at DaVita Dialysis Planning Commission meets Aug. 6 CHIPLEY — The Washington County Planning Commission will be having a public hearing and regular meeting on at 5 p.m. Aug. 6 in the County Government Annex Meeting Room, 1331 South Boulevard, Chipley. The Planning Commission will accommodate handicapped and disabled persons who wish to attend this meeting. Contact the Planning Department at 415-5093, at least 48 hours before the See BRIEFS A2 "" !         PHOTO BY RANDAL SEYLER | The News Wayne Bridges, left, DaVita Dialysis facility administrator, was presented the business’s “first dollarâ€? by Ted Everett, right, executive director of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, when the Chamber held a ribbon cutting for DaVita Chipley Dialysis on Tuesday. The facility, located on the Northwest Florida Community Hospital campus, provides kidney dialysis to local residents suffering from end stage renal disease, and offers patient services six days week. DaVita may be contacted at 638-7783. School Board discusses Washington County News wins 1st Amendment Defense Award millage, budget Get your free copy now INSIDE INDEX From Staff Reports Kiwanis .................................A5 Faith .....................................A4 Classifieds .............................A6 Phone: 850-638-0212 Web site: Fax: 850-638-4601 Second budget hearing set for Monday hearings that will continue Monday at 5:05 p.m. at the Administration Building in Chipley and conclude with a final hearing on Sept. 9. The district is proposing a millage of 7.538 mills to supply a $92.649,792 budBy RANDAL SEYLER get for 2013-14. That pro638-0212 | @WCN_HCT posed rate includes a 1.5 mill property tax for capital CHIPLEY — The Washing- outlay projects, including ton County School Board a number of construction held a budget hearing and a and remodeling efforts. special meeting Tuesday. The new Kate M. Smith The budget hearing was the first in a series of See BUDGET A2 CHIPLEY — The Washington County News continued its award-winning tradition last week when the newspaper won state honors for its news coverage. The newspaper was recognized on July 19 during the Florida Press Association’s annual convention in Orlando, where the Washington County News won second place in the FPA’s Better Weekly Newspaper Contest. “I’m very proud of Editor Randal Seyler for achieving this First Amendment Defense award, based on the outcome of a court order that was precedent-setting in Florida in its application of Sunshine and Public Record Laws,â€? said Nicole Barefield, publisher of the Washington County News. “More importantly, it recognizes the work Randal and staff do day in and day out covering the issues and activities important to our communities, and holding our government and elected officials accountable to the publics they serve. This we will continue to do,â€? she said. The award was for category of 1st Amendment Defense, Open Circulation Division, and was won with the coverage of the Vernon City Council’s violation of the state Sunshine Laws when it conducted an executive session on April 23, 2012. The city council went into executive session and ordered the public to leave the City Hall auditorium, then never See AWARD A2 Connect with us 24/7 Get breaking news, videos, expanded stories, photo galleries, opinions and more... @WCN_HCT

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